“Grooming” and today’s version of the religious witch hunt.

Donald Trump complains about being witch-hunted, but not many people really understand that a witch-hunt is not just something Trump doesn’t like being done to him (he claims).

Ron DeSantis has instituted his own version of witch-hunting with his battle against “grooming,” the hair-brained, fact-devoid belief that gay people try to influence otherwise straight children to become gay.

The similarities between 14th through 20th-century actual witch-hunting and today’s GOP “woke-hunting” are frightening.

Here are excerpts from an article in the May 2023 issue of Scientific American Magazine:

Edet Eyo, a 69-year-old woman from Cross River State in Nigeria, and four others were murdered in October 2022, allegedly by a group of young men who charged that her witchcraft had caused a recent motorcycle crash.

Her family says that suspicions had been dogging her for years, arising from jealousy of her prosperity. It is also the tale of Martha Carrier, who was hanged in Salem, Mass., in 1692.

Mermaid hunters - Ducking stool | Adventure of the seas, Empress of the  seas, Cruise
Punishment for witches

Of the accusations against her, one of the most salient was by a neighbor with whom her family had a property dispute.

Carrier became one of 35 people executed for witchcraft in the British colonies of New England—“crimes” of which some of them still have not been exonerated.

The narrative could be set in Germany in 1581, India in 2003Uganda in 2018 or Papua New Guinea in 2021.

Every year more than 1,000 people around the world, including men and children, are tortured, expelled from their homes or killed after being charged with witchcraft—using magic, usually to cause harm.

Far from declining with modernization, as some 20th-century scholars predicted, witch hunts are holding steady in some places and may be happening more often in others.

Multiple roots entwine to produce a witch hunt. A belief in sorcery, a patriarchal society, sudden and a paucity of health care, inaccessible justice systems that give impunity to attackers, a triggering disaster—all of these contribute.

But as Silvia Federici has argued in her 2004 book Caliban and the Witch and subsequent publications, what sustained periods of witch-hunting have in common, across time, space and culture, is a backdrop of social and economic dislocation.

Today’s triggering disaster was the COVID pandemic exacerbated by the Trump (“It will just go away) adminstration’s incompetence and lying, leading to more than a million American deaths.

Although popular imagination regards the trials as outbreaks of mass delusion or superstition, the fact that they peaked between the 1580s and the 1630s, a time of massive upheaval as a capitalist economy emerged, suggests a different story.

Church leaders had initiated witch hunts in the late 15th century, in part as a way of policing social mores.

Now the state, which was closely allied with religious, political and economic elites, took the lead.

In the 16th century rulers across Europe introduced new laws to make sorcery punishable by death—and the trials moved from ecclesiastical to secular courts, such as in duchies and towns.

Historian Christina Larner writes that in Scotland, authorities systematically incited panic against witches, traveling from village to village to instruct people on how to recognize them and sometimes even bringing along lists of women to denounce.

In sum, witch-hunting was a systematic campaign of terror that eliminated the resistance to dispossession that had simmered for decades after the peasant protests were crushed.

The accusations and persecution died down only in the latter half of the 18th century. Historical records indicate that by that time, roughly 50,000 people had been executed for sorcery.

That was then. Now, review what a modern witch-hunt looks like. Here are excerpts from a July 1, 2022 article in Vanity Fair Magazine:

Ron DeSantis has a not-insignificant chance of becoming president in 2024.

Like Trump, the Florida governor takes immense pride in being a bully; he bullied the Special Olympics, he bullied Disney, he bullies anyone who disagrees with him.

What might the country look like should DeSantis ascend to the White House?  It’ll be the kind of place where teachers are warned not to display rainbow flags for fear of being prosecuted.

On Friday, Desantis’s Parental Rights in Education Act, a.k.a. the “Don’t Say Gay” law, went into effect in Florida, and it’s hard to overstate how terrifying this whole thing is.

In addition to banning any talk of gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade, it also prohibits such discussions all the way through high school, saying that such topics cannot be discussed in any grade in a manner that is not “age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate.”

(Naturally, the law does not specify what is considered “appropriate”; that definition may not come from the state’s Department of Education until next summer.)

Critics believe the law was written in an intentionally broad manner to scare school districts, which parents can sue if they believe the measure has been violated.

“When we talk about the culture of fear that this bill has created and the chilling effect, we’re talking about the fact that educators and school districts are scared to approach anything related to LGBTQ people or issues out of fear of lawsuits and professional ruin,” said Florida representative Carlos Guillermo Smith.

Ironically, the law is based on not wanting students to “feel uncomfortable.” Instead, it makes teachers and gay students terrified, and the rest of the students, vigilantes. 

The common elements between the earlier witch-hunts and today’s GOP witch hunts are:

  1. Politically weak scapegoats (Often women, teachers, gays, Jews, aliens).
  2. Religious interpretations of morality
  3. Unproven, fact-free lies about the scapegoats.
  4. Politically powerful bigots who amass power by appealing to the ignorance, hatred and fears of the common populace.

The article continues:

For instance, the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association accused school officials this week of telling teachers not to wear clothing with rainbows on them and to get rid of “safe space” stickers and photos of their same-sex spouses.

Last month, according to Palm Beach County high school special education teacher Michael Woods, the Palm Beach County School District “sent out a questionnaire asking its teachers to review all course material and flag any books with references to sexual orientation, gender identity or race.”

Hitler would be proud.

The district removed the books I Am Jazz and Call Me Max, for seemingly referencing gender identity.

Medieval mask of shame

And, the Leon County School Board approved a “LGBTQ Inclusive Guide,” which includes a clause that says parents must be informed if a student who is “open about their gender identity” is in their child’s gym class or with them on an overnight school trip.

Apparently, that gay child represents some sort of threat to other children. (In reality, the other children represent a threat to a gay child.)

“Upon notification or determination of a student who is open about their gender identity, parents of the affected students will be notified of reasonable accommodation options available,” the guidelines state.

“Reasonable accommodations” for the gay child? For the straight children? What does that mean”

“Parents or students who have concerns about rooming assignments for their student’s upcoming overnight event based on religious or privacy concerns may request an accommodation.”

Because, as “everyone” knows, gay children have a reputation for attacking straight children. I never heard of that happening — the straights usually attack the gays — but one can’t be too careful because rooming with a gay child might turn a straight child gay. Right?

Jewish Badges During the Holocaust: The Othering of Jews Across Nazi Europe
The “badge of shame” during the Holocaust

At any rate, we have done our job by stigmatizing the gay children, thus assuring they will be bullied in school, which is exactly what any God-fearing parent should want. Right?

What next? Brand gay students with a “G” on their foreheads? Make them wear yellow armbands as the Jews had to, during the German Nazi period? Make them play in a separate schoolyard, so they don’t contaminate the “normal” kids?

From Wikipedia: In England, under the Poor Act 1697, paupers in receipt of parish relief were required to wear a badge of blue or red cloth on the shoulder of the right sleeve in an open and visible manner, in order to discourage people from collecting relief unless they were desperate, as while many would be willing to collect relief, few would be willing to do so if required to wear the “shameful” mark of the poor in public

Brandon Wolf,press secretary for Equality Florida, said, “We’ve always understood what we’re up against in the state of Florida. We know these lawmakers, we know the rightward shift that has happened under Governor Ron DeSantis.”

He fears the measure will only increase anti-LGBTQ+ violence, which increased from 2020 to 2021 and is on track to be worse in 2022, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.

But we DeSantis supporters don’t care about anti-LGBTQ+ violence, do we. Those gay kids have it coming for violating my religious beliefs. Right?

The Scarlet Letter: Part 1. “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel… | by Lynn  Moynahan | Medium
The scarlet letter

“It feels very ominous that in a state that saw the deadliest attack on LGBTQ people in this nation’s history…that we would be having conversations about erasing our history, our lives, our lived experiences from classrooms,” Wolf said.

Meanwhile, in Texas… A group of “educators” proposed that slavery should be called “involuntary relocation.”

Yes, really!

Opposition to the suggested change, which would sort of be like calling Hitler’s systemic murder of 6 million Jews “population downsizing,” apparently came up during a June 15 meeting, at which a Democrat who represents Dallas and Fort Worth noted that the new wording would not be a “fair representation” of the slave trade.

How about calling the Romans’ feeding of Christians to lions, “animal welfare nourishment”?

And then there was this bit of witch-hunt bigotry, courtesy of religion (Why is bigotry so often based on supposed religious belief?)

‘Religious freedom’ rule could cause ‘significant damage’ to LGBTQ health care, advocates say

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule earlier this week expanding health care workers’ ability to refuse services on religious grounds.

How about, “My religion doesn’t recognize Jews, so no service for you.”

Or, “My religion tells me that blacks are evil, so you can’t rent in my building”?

Or, “My religion says gay people are breaking God’s laws, so off  to jail with you?”

Or, “My religion says abortion is murder, so despite what your religion says, all abortions will be prosecuted as capital crimes, and everyone involved — doctors, lawyers, those facilitating travel for abortions, everyone — will be punished by death?”

That ought to do it.

A number of LGBTQ advocates and health care experts have warned the measure could have a negative impact on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

That’s the whole point. Why do you think we made you queers scapegoats? We’re trying to get the bigot vote in America.

The rule, Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care, revises existing HHS regulations to ensure “vigorous enforcement of Federal conscience and anti-discrimination laws” and strengthens health care workers rights so they are “free from coercion or discrimination” on account of their “religious beliefs or moral convictions.”

The measure, first proposed over a year ago, “fulfills President Trump’s promise to promote and protect the fundamental and unalienable rights of conscience and religious liberty, according to a statement issued by the HHS.

What we mean is the “fundamental and unalianable rights of me,” not the rights of anyone who thinks differently, looks different or acts differently from me.

See it’s like this: Any person’s claimed religious beliefs are more important than the actual health and lives of gay people.

Ron DeSantis has not yet announced that he will run for president in 2024, but when and if he does, there’s a campaign slogan he should definitely consider—Ron DeSantis: If you like petty tyrants, he’s your guy.

Yes, in the latest round of the Florida governor versus the state’s largest employer, DeSantis threatenedon Monday to punish the company through any array of absurd measures, including building a prison complex next to the theme park.

(DeSantis’s threats were obvious retribution for the way Disney outmaneuvered him by passing covenants that rendered his handpicked governing board basically powerless.)

At a press conference held near Disney World, DeSantis sneered and spoke of the company: “They are not superior to the laws that are enacted by the people of the state of Florida. That’s not going to work, that’s not going to fly.”

Actually, the laws were not enacted by the people. They were enacted by DeSantis and his flunkees, who care only about their power, and nothing about innocent gay people.

Then, after announcing that the Republican-controlled legislature would try to change state law in order to subject the theme park to new inspections, he suggested that the land next to Disney World might be turned into a rival park or perhaps a state prison.

Oh, and the board he personally installed may look into raising Disney’s taxes too.

But that’s not the “weaponizing of the government against political opponents” that the GOP loves to whine about.

As a reminder, all of this is happening because Disney dared to criticizethe wildly bigoted, DeSantis-backed “Don’t Say Gay”legislation last year in Florida, where you’re apparently not allowed to disagree with the authoritarian governor.

Even former New Jersey governor and potential 2024 Republican candidate for president Chris Christie recognized the lunacy of DeSantis’s antics, asking, “Where are we headed here now, that if you express disagreement in this country, the government is allowed to punish you?

On Monday, Disney seemingly responded to DeSantis’s threats by publicizing “Disneyland After Dark: Pride Nite,” a two-night event that will be held in June to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and its allies.

Oh, that does it. No doubt the “Disneyland After Dark: Pride Nite” will “groom” dozens if not thousands of straight kids to convert to a lifestyle that guarantees they forever will be scapegoat for the religious. Who could resist such an option?

We’re assuming that didn’t go over so great in the governor’s mansion, and that DeSantis is currently asking his lawyers to look into whether he can have Mickey executed.

DeSantis probably doesn’t harbor a true hatred of gays, blacks, Mexicans, immigrants, Muslims et al. He is just trying to live off the precudices of Florida voters.

Presumably, his massive victory in the most recent elections indicated he judged his constituency correctly.

Fortunately, the rest of America is not Florida, and DeSantis’s national polling number are dropping.

But unfortuately, that leaves the bigoted GOP with Donald Trump, the guy who whines about witch-hunting while endorsing it.

Get the ducking stools and yellow arm bands, ready.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

Twitter: @rodgermitchell Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


The Sole Purpose of Government Is to Improve and Protect the Lives of the People.



5 thoughts on ““Grooming” and today’s version of the religious witch hunt.

  1. As long as there are people who feel themselves superior to others, there will be witch hunts of some kind. What better way to take down those they perceive as enemies. Call them a witch (or a gay or a Jew or whatever) and let the pieces fall where they may.
    Humans should be better than this by now, but as long as we have Trumpelstiltskins and DeSanitizers to point the way, hatred and bigotry will rule.


  2. What happened to Tucker Carlson and CNN ‘s Don Lemon indicates that corporate news media is still tuned in to, and is keeping a sense of, right and wrong. Why? Because the louder your voice travels the greater it has to make sense to make cents. Non-cents hurts the bottom line.


    1. The Lemon and Carlson cases are fundamentally different. Lemon was a problem co-worker. Carlson was a liar who cost his boss 800 million dollars for his lies. CNN will retain its believability. FOX is a lying machine, believed only by the cement-headed. Huge difference.


  3. Speaking of groomers wonder what Denny Hastert is doing these days. Probably hanging out with Gym Jordan or some elderly accused priests at St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein.


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